LATER this week, a festival of economics will take place in Dundee, running from Friday to Sunday following an event in Leith on Thursday.

At the Scotonomics Festival of Economics, a collection of top international economists will aim to provide answers to the big economic questions, demystify the money system and demolish false claims such as, for example, the “no alternative” mantra.

In the UK today, many people blame a personal lack of intelligence for their failure to understand the economy. Lived experience is not reflected by aggregate statistics on rising GDP or falling unemployment. These figures just do not make sense to them in what is rated as one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

It is only through ordinary people learning the economic basics that pressure can be applied to influence political will at Westminster.

This also has obvious implications for the potential economy of a future independent Scotland. We must not allow our politicians to impose a mini-UK system on the new nation.

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The speakers taking to the stage over the coming weekend will aim to describe economic reality in language that does not require a university degree to understand, addressing the issues the general public face up to every day.

This idea of there being no alternative economic system to the conventional wisdom (sometimes called neoliberal economics) which has embedded itself in the thinking of the great majority of economists, is untrue.

But what chance does the regular man or woman on the street, living a life often ruled by work and stress, have to challenge the prevailing dogma when the economic system seems so complex, the jargon mind-blowing, and the media and politicians simply parrot the same false narrative of academics?

The festival is the antidote to the poison afflicting the economic understanding of the Scottish public. Not only is there an alternative but there are numerous potential paths to take.

By taking part in the festival, either at the events in person, or online, you will get a clearer perception of what constitutes the economy, what GDP and the so-called “national debt” actually are, how a Scottish currency could transform policy options, the real purpose of taxation and how Scotland should tackle climate change and the transition to a wellbeing economy.

The National: Scottish currency

The general lack of understanding of the economy has been weaponised in the debates over the constitution. Commentators who favour the continuation of the Union and the status quo, have orchestrated a campaign of scaremongering, on issues such as the currency, pensions, foreign exchange and trade – in 2014 they called it Project Fear.

The independence movement has struggled to refute nonsensical claims continually repeated by the media. If Yes supporters are better informed by attending this event so that they are able to counter the Unionist arguments, Project Fear can be rendered impotent.

The list of speakers is diverse and impressive. Respected economists, media personalities, politicians and academics from different schools of economic thought will gather in Dundee. Lesley Riddoch (above) will be conducting interviews throughout the weekend as part of a programme of over 30 separate sessions.

Steve Keen, Miriam Brett, Ann Pettifor, Mark Blyth, Fadhel Kaboub, Dirk Enhts and Bob Hockett are just a sample of the many fabulous guest speakers. The festival also provides the opportunity, either at Dundee over the weekend, or in Leith on Thursday, to view Maren Poitras’s new film Finding The Money.

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As the title suggests, this movie documentary investigates the themes highlighted at the festival and features many top economists from the Modern Monetary Theory school of thought. The more this film is shared, the better the understanding of economics will be.

A key theme throughout the festival will be community wealth building. And the organisers are walking the walk as well as talking the talk, with profits being donated to create a social enterprise based in Dundee. Tickets for the events can be purchased at

Many attendees will be ordinary Scots who have already noted the glaring contradictions between the Better Together messaging at the referendum and the response by governments throughout the world to the Covid crisis.

Learning is not just for personal consumption. It is necessary to reassure our undecided, risk-averse, or dogmatic friends, neighbours, and family members, and convince them that change is not only possible, but necessary.

By taking the knowledge gained and fitting that to our real-life experience, the practical problems to be solved by the economy become apparent. No mathematical formulae or unrealistic assumptions can reflect society’s diversity or the infinite layers of human traits and desires. We should trust our intuitions to a far greater extent to adapt our economy to reality. The economy should serve the people, not the other way round.

For full details of the programme see